Organizer Matt Sherman and the crew of the seventh annual James Bond Collector’s Weekend (BCW 007) made a surprise discovery on Sunday. Franz Sanchez’ escape plane, seen in the pre-titles of Licence To Kill, has been hiding in plain sight for many years along a stretch of Florida’s U.S. Highway 1, which spans the Florida Keys and ends in Key West (a major location for the movie). The single engine plane — the engine and interior removed so it could be safely suspended beneath Bond and Felix’s chase helicopter — is now playing the role of attention-getting road sign advertising “Sky Diving” at the Sugarloaf Airport in Sugarloaf Florida.
In the movie, Sugarloaf doubled as “Cray Cay” in the Bahamas, and was the setting of the shootout with Sanchez’ men and Sanchez’ escape in the small plane (in reality, flown by stunt pilot J.W “Corky” Fornof). The house where Sanchez apprehends the wayward Lupe and her lover is also on the property.
CBn's own Bond Girl Athena Stamos stands in front of the recently discovered Sanchez escape plane from Licence To Kill.
The famous plane is in a fairly poor state of repair. Interestingly, the N-number N54743, which can be clearly seen in the movie as Bond lassos its tail section in mid-air, has been disguised. The final 3 has been turned into an 8. Still, the original number can be clearly discerned beneath the new paint.
Ian Fleming Foundation member Colin Clark, who was among the BCW participants who found the plane on Sunday, has expressed interest in possibly having the IFF buy the plane and restore it to its 1988 condition. Colin and the IFF have bought and restored many famous Bond vehicles in the past, including the jump boat from Live And Let Die and the submarine from For Your Eyes Only.
But, for the time being, Bond fans can view this piece of Bond history free of charge along Florida’s Highway 1. And why not stop in for a sky dive?
UK Licence To Kill program.
Read CBn’s exclusive full coverage of BCW 7, which includes more photos of the Sanchez escape plane, as well as more double-oh-seven discoveries and pictures from dozens of Licence To Kill, Goldfinger, and Nobody Lives Forever locations.